Ministry of Agriculture signs an MOU with Pixxel Space India

Jun 27: Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare signed an MOU with Pixxel Space India Pvt. Limited today in the presence of the Shri Manoj Ahuja, Secretary, DA&FW, Pramod Kumar Meherda, Additional Secretary, DA&FW and other senior officers of the Ministry at New Delhi. Shri C. S. Murthy, Director, MNCFC signed the MOU on behalf of the Government of India, whereas Shri Abhishek Krishnan, Chief of Staff represented M/s Pixxel Space India Pvt. Limited. It aims to develop various geospatial solutions on a pro bono basis for the Indian Agriculture Ecosystem using Pixel’s hyperspectral dataset. The project focuses on leveraging sample hyperspectral data from Pixxel’s pathfinder satellites to develop analytics models focused on the crop mapping, crop stage discrimination, crop health monitoring, and soil organic carbon assessments. This will enable the Government to develop use cases with hyperspectral data provided by PIXXEL. MNCFC on behalf of the DA&FW will associate with the Pixel team for developing and implementing the suitable methodologies.

Hyperspectral remote sensing technology includes spectral measurements in narrow wavelength bands by satellites and such measurements offer certain unique indices to monitor and assess the health of crops and soils. This is an emerging technology with unique capabilities for monitoring agriculture. Crop health monitoring by detecting the changes in chlorophyll content and canopy moisture status, using hyperspectral data would be beneficial to find crop risk management solutions for farmers.

Soil nutrient mapping including soil organic carbon assessments is one of the important applications of hyperspectral technology. The soil reflectance observations measured by the sensors offer more direct, cost-effective datasets to estimate soil organic carbon. This will also help to develop the early detection of crop stress, and accurate diagnostics of crop stress due to pest/disease or water using hyperspectral data offering numerous opportunities to strengthen the current advisory system of the Government benefiting millions of farmers.

Secretary, DA&FW expressed that such types of collaboration with young startup companies will go a long way in developing innovative geospatial solutions using advanced satellite imaging technology. The new technology will reduce dependence on manual surveys and measurements which are time-consuming and prone to errors.

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